Eagles Players Don't Know Why Chiefs Stopped Passing, Kept Running

A few Philadelphia Eagles players are asking the same question a few of us are this morning: Why did the Kansas City Chiefs continue to force the run in the second half when down by three scores?

"(RB Larry) Johnson is their workhorse," Eagles' Omar Gaither said.  "Honestly, I was surprised a little bit. They run the ball a lot but they ran the ball much more than I thought they would with the score being what it was."

The Chiefs had three rushing yards headed into the second half.  That, to me, is an indication that the running game isn't working.  Combine that with the scoreboard at the time (down 17 points) and I still can't figure out why the Chiefs continued to force the run.

In 28 second half plays, the Chiefs ran 20 times for 71 yards.  They passed eight times, completing seven of them for 40 yards.

More reactions from Todd Haley and Eagles players after the jump.

"I think to be the team that we want to be we are going to have to be able to run the ball even when they have too many up there," head coach Todd Haley explained.  "We are trying to win the game, but at the same time we are trying to establish an identity around here. Three yards of rushing offense at halftime, to me, is unacceptable. It was not something that I thought at the time I could let go at the wayside with our offense."

Eagles safety Quintin Mikell explained why, in theory, teams don't want to rely solely on the pass.

"If you're back there, dropping back every play, and our front four know it's a pass, it's lights out," he said. "You don't want to get your quarterback injured."

Marcus Hayes of the Philadelphia Daily News (Thanks to stagsdp for the link) touches on a similar sentiment in light of the Chiefs rush heavy third quarter. "Carting Cassel off the field seemed inevitable if the Chiefs kept chucking it," Hayes wrote.

Haley declined to answer specifics about the game plan but did offer up this: The team is creating an identity and running the football will be part of that.  

"Again, we are trying to establish an identity around here," Haley told reporters after the game.  "You can call it conservative if you want. I think it had a purpose as far as myself and the team goes, and I will leave it at that."

Eagles defensive end Darren Howard takes it a step further saying he's never seen a second half game plan like that before.

"I don't know what the motive was behind that," said Howard. "I know they were down two of their receivers, who didn't dress this week. We knew they were going to come in and run the ball, but to that extent? We were kind of taken by surprise. I've never seen that before. We were up by that much going into the second half and they don't try to throw the ball downfield?"

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